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THE LOO-CHOO ISLES.

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Since our notice of Loo Choo, an interesting little work, entitled “ Lewchew and the Lewchewans,"* by the Bishop of Victoria, has issued from the press, and we think that some further particulars respecting this new sphere of labour, where, notwithstanding the apparently mild character of the people, Missionary efforts have commenced amidst so much of annoyance and intimidation, will prove interesting.

The Bishop reached Loo Choo on October the 3d, 1850, in H. M. steam-sloop "Reynard."

Leaving our luggage in charge of a number of apparently well-disposed agents of the Lewchewan Government, we walked about a mile through streets of neat dwellings to the isolated promontory on which the Missionary family reside. Here, in their little home or prison-house, perched on a rocky but salubrious elevation, overhanging the sea, they had for four years and a-half borne the privations of exile from intercourse with civilized society. ...

The house itself had been previously a Buddhist temple. With that religious indifference which is universally prevalent in China, it was ceded by the priests in charge to the foreign family, at the request of the authorities. A spot better adapted for exclusion from the people, and for the agency of spies, could not have been fixed upon. The house was in almost the same state as before its present appropriation. The images only had been removed; the open halls had slender partitions of boards around the sides; a few paper windows were inserted to shut out the cold of winter; and a portion of the accumulated dirt within had been carried away. The inscriptions, however, remained on various tablets; and some sacred bells of large size, on which were inscribed in Chinese the names of the contributors towards their purchase as a gift to the temple, occupied the usual position at the entrance. Behind the house was a little space of ground, about fifty yards in length, bounded by another smaller temple; and outside the whole was a firmly-constructed enclosure built of stone, and presenting, from the sea, the appearance of a fortified wall. On either side there was also some uncultivated ground, covered with wild shrubs and plants resembling the cactus and pineapple. At a little distance inland there were some well-cultivated gardens and a few houses. A narrow road surrounded the Missionary premises, effectually cutting him off from contact with the natives, and forming a convenient cordon for the government spies.

The thermometer was now abont 80', and the heat during the day prevented much walking until towards the evening. About an hour before sunset I accompanied Dr. Bettelheim on a walk through the town. We pursued our course through a number of streets, which generally consisted of neat walls on either side, built of coral fitted compactly together, and apparently without any mortar, presenting a clean and pretty appearance, and forming, as I was informed, a strong contrast with the poverty and filth generally existing within. These outer walls enclose little courts, which had a few'shrubs and flowers, the houses themselves lying a few feet further back from the street. The houses of

* T. Hatchard, Piccadilly.

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retreat.

the poorest classes, and the few shops which we saw, were generally without a court, and opened directly upon the thoroughfares. The people generally bowed in return to any advances of civility; and some would even utter a few words of hurried reply to the addresses of Dr. Bettelheim in passing. The higher and more wealthy classes evinced less fear; but it was a rare circumstance to hear a person utter more than ten words, although they were very lavish in their bowings. They would generally remain for two or three minutes when addressed collectively; but when one individual was selected as the person addressed, there were palpable signs of alarm, and he invariably made a hasty

This odd mixture of outward respect and unwillingness to enter into conversation was the kind of reception universally experienced. But on our arrival at the large public square which formed the marketplace, and in which probably two or three thousand Lewchewans were at that time congregated, and eagerly engaged in traffic, one of the most remarkable scenes took place that I ever witnessed.

Here, on a large scale, there was a renewal of what had been previously observable only in detail. On our walking into the square, there was a general dispersion of buyers and sellers, and we were left alone with benches and stalls loaded with provisions for sale, but abandoned by their owners. On our proceeding to the other side of the square, the same signs of a general flight appeared. A thousand persons, who just before were quietly engaged in buying and selling, retreated in one hurried mass to the opposite quarter; and there, at about fifty yards' distance, they turned round, like a flock of sheep, vacantly staring at us. A few aged women and cripples alone remained, who were unable to escape,

and who received our advances towards conversation in mute astonishment and silent terror. Not a word escaped their lips. Wherever we moved there seemed to be the same fixed determination to avoid contact; and yet there was not any mark of anger or disrespect. A few of the literary class and Government officers, as they passed along, appeared to be less under the influence of fear, and exhibited less equivocal marks of defiance in the sneer which they assumed as they hurried by. One old bonze(Buddhist priest) seemed to be placed in great perplexity, in his endeavour to be polite to ourselves and to obey the ordres of the Government. Dr. Bettelheim addressed a few questions to him, to which he responded with many smiles and low bowings, but yet stammering and confused with embarrassment at the possibility of 'being observed. Along whole lines of streets, leading from the marketsquare, we perceived the shops shut and the doors barricaded in anticipation of our arrival ; and every thing, as if by some mysterious power of magic, suddenly wore the appearance of solitude and desolation. A few natives running forward gave the signal to clear the way, and every wayfarer coming towards us turned suddenly down some bye-lane, so as to take a circuitous route, and avoid meeting us. A few natives, to whom such a means of escape was not easily accessible, after apparently making a hasty calculation between the inconvenience of turning back and the danger of being involved in trouble by meeting us, came towards us with hesitating steps. A few words of kindness from Dr. Bettelheim, instead of composing their minds, only increased their alarm; and they pressed their shoulders against the wall in their anxiety to pass us

LAGOS AND ITS KING.

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at as great a distance as possible. But not a word of reply could be extorted, and I soon came to the conclusion that it was not the part of kindness to encourage the attempt, and to expose them to the hazard of incurring trouble on our account.

Satan is aware of the power of the gospel. His first object therefore is, if possible, so to indispose people to it, as that they shall stop their ears and refuse to hearken. Still, it is astonishing, amidst discouraging circumstances of this kind, how much may be accomplished by prayer and perseverance, and how, by degrees, little chinks and crevices present themselves, through which the light can penetrate. When the sun shines it is difficult to keep out the light; but when the gospel is brought to a distant land, to prevent it from penetrating men's hearts and consciences is impossible.

LAGOS AND ITS KING.

Our readers are aware that this African port in the Bight of Benin, which had been long the great centre of the slave-trade on that part of the coast, is now a Missionary Station, the foreign slave-dealers being removed, and the traffic in human beings prohibited by law. It is a very important Station, particularly in connexion with Abbeokuta, whose sea-port it properly is, lying at the mouth of the river Ogun, on which Abbeokuta stands. The possession of Lagos throws open the interior, and affords peculiar facilities for the encouragement of lawful trade, and the developement of the industrial energies of the people. And here it is most necessary that Missionary efforts should be pursued with energy, for there are many of the chiefs and people who love the gain which they derived from the slave-trade, and would be glad of its revival. At present, all such tendencies are kept down by the presence of the squadron on the coast. But this is a mere repressive system, in which people, by superior force, are compelled to a course contrary to their inclinations. We want their inclinations changed, so that, if there were no compulsion present, and if they were free to do as they pleased, they would of themselves refuse the slave-trade, and put it from them as an injurious and cruel system. This would be a permanent improvement, and this can be done only by the action of the gospel on the minds of the people.

We think our readers will wish to have information from time to time as to what is going forward at this important place. At present we introduce some extracts from the letter-dated January 15, 1853–of a new Missionary, who has recently arrived at Lagos. The first communications of a Missionary are generally very interesting. All is new and strange to one who has just landed, and many things arrest his attention with which the older Missionary has become familiarized, and does not think of noticing.

I had the privilege, last Sunday, of preaching under a tree to a congregation of some 300 or 400 natives, of course through an interpreter. All appeared to be very attentive. We commenced the service with singing,

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MISSIONARY WORK AT NING PO.

in English, the beautiful hymn, “ There is a fountain filled with blood,” to the good old tune of St. Stephen's. As there were considerable numbers of Sierra-Leone people in the congregation, who can speak English, the singing was really very beautiful. I enjoyed the service, and indeed the whole of this my really first African Sabbath, very much.

We paid our respects to his majesty, in his own royal palace, last Tuesday. A most amusing visit it certainly was. Imagine a dirty, mudwalled, mud-foored room, without windows, nothing but two doors-one I suppose to keep out intruders, and the other to let in those two most necessary articles, air and light. In every corner of this sanctum were stowed all manner of articles, in most delightful confusion-here a kettle and some old shoes, there the king's idols and his big many.coloured silk umbrella, hand in hand together. On the floor were heaps of cowries, which divers lightly-clothed boys were busily engaged in counting. In the middle of all this scene, as a centre piece, on a dirty sofa, sat his still dirtier majesty, half naked, unwashed, unshaven. He welcomed us very cordially, shaking hands with each, and causing chairs covered with dust to be dragged out of their recesses for our special benefit. Glad enough were we at last to make our escape, and breathe a little fresh air.

The Christians at Abbeokuta are eagerly looking out for our arrival. Many kind messages of welcome and little presents have already been received. Indeed, we have every thing to encourage us.

Though every thing around us is so entirely different from what we see in England, to me, at least, the change does not appear by any means strange, and I feel almost as much at home as if I were in much-loved Barnwell. I fully believe that, if our lives and health are spared, we shall be very, very happy in our work.

MISSIONARY WORK AT NINGPO. The gospel continues to be preached by our Missionaries at Ningpo, assisted by the native Christian Bas-yûoh-yi. The chapels are frequently crowded by an orderly and attentive audience, many of whom are recognised, if not as constant, yet as frequent, attendants upon public preaching. At the close, books are distributed amongst the hearers, and an invitation is given, to those who are anxious to know further of these doctrines, to call on the Missionaries. In the schools 55 boys are in attendance. Most of them have attained a very considerable knowledge of the Scriptures; and our Missionaries admitted three of them to baptism during the concluding eight months of the last year. At the date of the last despatches, another had been placed under instruction preparatory to a like result.

Nor is it only in our own schools that there are indications of the divine blessing. In a girls'-school, conducted by Miss Aldersey, a lady in connexion with the Society for the Education of Females in the East, six or seven of the pupils are in a hopeful state. One of them, who had left school to be married to her espoused husband, when called upon to take part in the idolatrous rites consequent upon marriage, refused, on the ground of their sinfulness, and opposition to the truths she had learned from the holy book. This was the more re

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markable, as she had never expressed a desire for baptism, or given Miss Aldersey reason to believe that she had rejected idolatry. Persisting in her refusal to perform the ceremonies, she was most cruelly treated, and the case became the subject of conversation far and wide. And in the boys'-school connected with the American Presbyterian Board several have applied for baptism, and have established a prayer-meeting among themselves.

Conscious that it is only by free intercourse with the people that their views can be corrected, their minds enlightened, and their prejudices removed, the Missionaries admit to their family prayers, morning and evening, which are conducted in the Chinese language, all who wish to come. The Rev.W.A. Russell's service in the evening is frequently attended by twenty or twenty-five persons, who will remain quietly for so long as two hours. He has a class of candidates for baptism, consisting of three men and one boy, and Mrs. Russell another of four women and the two daughters of one of them.

In those already baptized there is much ground for encouragement and thankfulness. One of them, whose name, for obvious reasons, we withhold, and whose income is about 25s. a-month, has presented a sum of 20,000 cash-being equivalent in English money to about 31.7s.6d.-as a donation to the Church Missionary Society, to be applied to the general purposes of the schools at Ningpo.

To these brief but interesting particulars we now add the following account, by our Missionary, the Rev. R. D. Jackson, of a Missionary excursion made by him and Dr. Macgowan, of the American Baptist Board, to Kwan-hae-wei, distant from Ningpo about 15 Chinese le, or about 38 English miles

We left Ningpo about half-past nine in the evening of the 27th of December last by boat, in which we reached San-tsih-che, a distance of about 70 le from Ningpo, at five o'clock next morning, where, leaving the boat, we proceeded to one of the numerous villages, in search of chairs for the remainder of our journey. On our route we passed many populous villages and towns, especially one called Singso, where we got out of our chairs, and distributed some books, and spoke a few words to the people, who flocked about us in great crowds.

About half-past three P.m. we reached Kwan-hae-wei, or “the city overlooking the sea.” On entering the city, we dismissed our chairs for the time, and were proceeding through the main street, when a Chinese gentleman came forward and took us under his escort. He led to the Campus Martii, or exercising ground, the crowds following by hundreds. When we had ascended the city walls, observing at some distance an eminence with a pagoda upon it, which, we were informed, commanded a view of the city, we proceeded thither, and had a magnificent view of the sea. In the mean time the people were watching us from the city walls, and, seeing us about to descend, gave a great shout, plainly forewarning us of the crowds we might expect on our return. On our approaching the city gates, every available place on the city wall from whence they could see us was crowded with women and children. Hundreds of people met

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